VA Whistleblowers Say They Are Being Punished By The Government for Speaking Out

VA Whistleblowers Say They Are Being Punished By The Government for Speaking Out

50 VA hospital workers claim they are the victims of retaliation for blowing the whistle on the horrors they saw at VA hospitals.

When Valerie Riviello, a nurse at a Veterans Affairs facility in New York, saw the clinic restrain a sexual assault survivor to a bed for seven consecutive hours, she released the woman.

The next day, Ms. Riviello said, she was removed from her post as senior nurse manager and given a full-time desk job that prohibited her from contact with patients. She eventually was reprimanded and is facing a 30-day unpaid suspension for releasing the woman.

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Now, Ms. Riviello is one of more than 50 whistleblowers who say the Veterans Affairs Department retaliated against them for trying to do their jobs.

When the facility put the same female patient under restraints for 49 continuous hours in February, as a convenience to doctors who wanted to enjoy their holiday weekend, none of the nurses wanted to speak up, Ms. Riviello said.

“The nurses are afraid to complain or report anything,” she said. “They have 100 things they’ve noticed, but they’ve seen what is happening to me so they’re afraid to report anything.”

Several subsequent reports have said the VA failed to heed the warnings of whistleblowers, who sounded alarms about waiting lists and about substandard care.

Read more Western Journalism

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